Festival of Sahajiya Sect
The Sahajiya sect has its biggest festival in the middle of January at
Kenduli in Birbhum district. The district is the birth place of Jayadeva,
the poet of Gita Govindam. Here, Sahajiyas from all parts of Bengal
assemble in a week long festival, hold long sessions of highly exoteric
songs and ecstatic dance and go through their characteristic forms of
worship. The village and the environs are transformed into a vast fair
ground, where every article of use and inexpensive finery are brought
and sold and popular entertainments do brisk business. A similar mela,
is held at Ghosepara, near Kalyani on the day following Holi.
The river Ganga accounts for one of the great festivals-cum-fair.
On the last day of Indian month of Pous (Mid January) lakhs
of assembled pilgrims have a holy dip at the Saugour island beach on the
estuary of the Bhagirathi river, where a makeshift township is erected
for their reception by the state authorities. The pilgrims who belong
to all sections of Hindus flock by river crafts of all descriptions. Complete
bazars (markets) springs up for meeting their needs. Medical including
hospital facilities are made available and Hindu missionary bodies provide
thousands of volunteers to look after their welfare.